Sunday, September 25, 2005

Boys Town

You've gotta feel sorry for the boys at Blokesworld. It's like they're at the wheel of a V8 for the first time with half a case of beer in the back, no food, the quiet girls have gone home and the louder ones just scare them silly so they have no alternative but to act like boofheads. Which is pretty fortuitous because they are and they can.

Screened on Channel 10 this show (which emerged, crapzilla-like, out of the bowels of community television) has apparently become a bit of a hit with lads who find themselves alone at home on a Friday night after a night on the turps. No surprises there.

What's most perplexing about the show (in a show that doesn't exactly tax the brain) is the number of women who seem thrilled to be part of it, from the playbunny who hosts the "Show Me Your Tool" segment to the witless "exotic dancers" in the Pole (dancing) Position competition who vie for their moment of glory in the land of pastel porn. I can't help but be reminded of the Big Brother contestant who gave another contestant her teeny weeny gym panties as a fetish and then was horrified to learn that the boys were sniffing them for clues. I mean - what did she think they were going to do; frame them?

Scanning the Net for some kind of insight into this depressingly familiar genre I came across this:
The main sexual stereotype is the whore/tease. The woman is viewed largely as a sex object who is there for the mens' sexual fantasy...

... Another sexual stereotype is the Lesbian/man hater. This may be triggered by the woman's appearance, particularly if she wears androgynous clothing or has short hair...

... The more wholesome images are those of "good" women... [such as]

Mother - older women or more homely women can elicit a mothering stereotype they are supposed to be kind and caring, but not intelligent and assertive.

Daughter - [men] may attempt to offer guidance or protection and assume the woman is gullible and naïve....

and finally this:

... A stereotype that is neither wholesome or sexual, but is often used to describe powerful women in managerial positions is the "ballbreaker". Such women have authority and are too threatening to openly sexualise, but are also too strong to fit the nurturing stereotypes.
Wow, I thought. That's so illuminating. Pity it's about a prison population. You'd almost think they were talking about the boys from Blokesworld.

(Picture by Brite Lights Photos)
Maybe there was another way of looking at it. Perhaps a look at the socialisation of children would provide a clue.
Everyday notions of gender are generally expressed in terms of differences - differences that are not equally valued. They are also not symmetrical in that masculinity tends to be defined as that which is not feminine, but femininity is not defined as that which is not masculine.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but are they suggesting that "blokeyness" might be defined not by what it is, but by what it is not? A fancy way of describing the more familiar "girl germs" theme of early boyhood? Hmmm.

Further in the document the researchers suggest that girls experience strong gender conformity pressures in relation to body image, which is no surprise and may explain the craze for saline breast implants as well as the apparent need to be physically desired at all costs, even if the gazer includes a large contingent of the slobberati class. On the other hand,
Boys create and preserve ...masculinity through fear of whatever might be constructed as female, since whatever masculinity is constructed is better than femininity.
Unsurprisingly, "[t]his creates problems for both boys and girls."

However it could start to explain why there are so many people who seem to be propping themselves and each other up with a hyper-masculinity (and hyper-femininity in the case of the bunnies) that's as marked in its essential fictitiousness as that of any drag queen or pantomime artist. And anyone who doubts whether it is a symbolic enactment of some inner conflict should just watch any episode of The Footy Show.

Now I'm not against entertainments that lampoon the sexes nor averse to "politically incorrect" representations per se (like this picture of a duck that I found on Flickr) if there's at least some humour or irony or something in there other than a 'same shit/different day' kind of banality. Even Benny Hill, one of the fathers of the slap and tickle genre (which I suppose is what Blokesworld and The Footy Show are at root - so to speak) was at least genuinely humourous and inventive. The Carry On contingent were not, relying instead on a repetitive and tiresome theme of infantile transgression/naughtiness that explains alot about British politics and education systems but not much else.

Anyway, my theory is simpler than that. I reckon the boys from Blokesworld were bottle fed and just haven't gotten over their exclusion from a very mammalian and reassuring form of human bonding in their early years. So I reckon we need to institute a Boobs for Bottlefed Boofheads Day where every woman in Australia displays her breasts for a day so that these poor suckers can finally overcome their emotional anorexia and get on with the business of graduating from infancy.

PS: Mock-apologies to anyone I've offended with the image of the baby and the breast - I don't think it's just coincidence that images of breastfeeding are the most unlikely representations of the human body that you'll ever see in our society. And if that's not an indication of the confused perversity of our times, I don't know what is.

Thanks to Christy Scherer for beautiful baby and mum photo.
Top marks also to Debbie C. B. for the Ken and Barbie orgy.

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